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Happy Paleo Pi(e) Day!
Today is March 14… or 3/14… or 3.14 (3.14159265359)… a.k.a., Pi Day, a.k.a, an excuse to eat pie.
But we’re not eating just any pie. Oh, no! We’re eating paleo-approved, protein-packed pie.
Or should I say π?
Here are four recipes that will cure your craving for pie and won’t leave you feeling remorseful tomorrow, in a pie-induced hangover, filled with gluten regret. Instead, you’ll feel powerful, positive, proficient, peachy, prime, and peerless — all thanks to pi(e).
Paleo π Day: Shepherd’s Pie
You know the old joke: Pi are not round, pi r squared?
No, you don’t know that one? Huh; that’s weird.
Anyway, here’s my favorite square pie: Shepherd’s Pie.
Shepherd’s Pie is a traditionally British or Irish dish made from lamb, and it’s a kissin’ cousin to cottage pie, which is made with beef. The term ‘cottage pie’ has been around since 1791, when potatoes were introduced as an edible food for the poor. Back then, cottage pie was topped not with mashed spuds, but with slices that mimicked the tiles on a rustic cottage roof, hence the name.
Meat topped with potatoes isn’t only found in the U.K. Natives of Quebec enjoy “pâté chinois;” the French eat “hachis Parmentier;” in the Middle East, it’s “Siniyet Batata,” and in the Dominican Republic, they add cheese and call it “pastelón de papa.”
In this paleo-ized version, I replaced the potatoes with cauliflower, eliminated the green peas, used coconut products instead of dairy, and replaced the Worcestershire – made with high-fructose corn syrup… boo! – with coconut aminos. This recipe can easily be doubled and frozen, and it’s pretty quick to make – perfect for a weeknight when you want to crawl into something warm and toasty. (Whole30 approved.)
Paleo π Day: Chicken Bastila
Chicken Bastila is a traditional Moroccan dish usually prepared for holidays and weddings. It’s a sweet-savory pie made from layers of phyllo dough stuffed with spice-infused chicken, cinnamon-scented almonds, and soft scrambled eggs. When the pie is done baking, it’s sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar (!) and cinnamon. I made it in its original form twice in my life and both times, it was transcendent. Seriously. Like nothing else in the world.
When I gave the traditional recipe a makeover, I figured that since the original included crushed almonds with cinnamon, an almond flour crust wouldn’t stray too far from the real deal. And if I “cheated” a little bit and used a few dates instead of sugar as a sweetener, I could make a pie that’s technically paleo. [Insert my rant about how “treats are treats, no matter what they’re made from” here.] I suspect Moroccan cooks would say this doesn’t measure up because it’s less sweet than the traditional recipe, but I’m very pleased with the result – especially because it means I haven’t had to bid Chicken Bastila adieu. The pie is crispy, has just the right touch of sweetness, and is very filling and rich. The perfect celebration of family and food. (Not Whole30 approved.)
Paleo π Day: Mexican Meatza Pie
Truth #1: My ideal cozy night is pizza on the couch in front of a movie that requires only, like, 30% of my brain cells (or I also like to snuggle up to my umpteenth viewing of When Harry Met Sally… or Jane Eyre).
Truth #2: I’ve had gluten-free pizza delivered from lots of pizza joints—gluten-free, not grain-free—so it still falls into “treat” territory. This is the pizza replacement I eat when I’m not feeling like I want a potentially problematic treat. This is cheese free, grain free, garbage free, and AWESOME.